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By seva1993 Jun 10, 2014 669 Words
The reading that I decided to summarize is called “The Emergence of the Star System in America” by Richard DeCordova. The topic is very useful because it emphasizes the idea of the star system. The system includes different kinds of information that was created about actors. The evolvement of the system was influenced and developed through three transformations like “the discourse on acting, the picture personality and the star” The reading is significant because the write takes the reader thought the journey about what perception of film actors used to be before 1907 and how the concept of performers kept evolving and changing till the year of 1914. The first transformation is the discourse on acting. DeCordova argues that before 1907, film actors were not popular and all the “journalistic discourse of the time focused primarily on the scientific aspects of the apparatus”). It was assumed that films were products that did not have any involvement of human labor until the rise of another discourse in 1907, the importance of the labor in film production. The discourse led to a new knowledge which created a “struggle destined to resituate the site of textual productivity for the spectator away from the work of the apparatus itself” Another very important aspect is that at the time all those who appeared in films were called picture performers and their activities were described as posing because the activity of acting in film was known only in terms of photography due to “struggle between a photographic and a theatrical conception of the body” (DeCordova, p 19). In 1908, a huge decrease in demand of documentary films led to development of dramatic films. It led to a huge popularity of people who appeared in films and who had a blend of the profilmic, filmic and the real stories. The blend led to strengthening of the concept called the picture performer and acceptance of the fact that the “art of actingcould be translated to the screen” (DeCordova, p 22). The acceptance allowed society to legitimize the concept of cinema and get new tastes of consumption like a combination of good action and acting in order to appeal to large audiences. The second transformation is the picture personality. Actors presented themselves with fictional names and public personalities. Three kinds of knowledge appeared while creating the personality. The first one is the circulation of the name that emphasizes the “difficulty of separating the circulation of the players’ names and the circulation of the films they were in” (DeCordova, p 25). Actors were identified in specific films because of names. The second knowledge is intertextuality. It “constituted the picture personality” . The knowledge was created by both the cinema and press. Personalities of performers supposed to be just like their characters had.The knowledge emphasized stage experiences of actors. The last well known transformation is the star. Stars have always been “characterized by a fairy through going articulation of the paradigm professional life/private life. With the emergence of the star, the question of the player’s existence outside his/her work in films entered discourse” Around 1914, there was already no restriction in terms of knowledge and textuality of players in films. Personal lives of stars became a new kind of a popular knowledge. Professional and personal lives became self-controlled and had connection between each other. Private life of stars had to be similar to their film characters. Eventually, the main difference between “the picture personality and the star is that the later supports a family discourse” The redundancy and closure of the two lives led to the emergence of the star concept with its system and power. The writing is very useful it terms of understanding how the concept of the star was created and why it evolved in certain ways. It was also very helpful to understand the emergence in terms of the three key transformations likethe discourse on acting, the picture personality and the star. The transformations allowed me to learn about interconnected aspects and facts which led to the concept of the star system.

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